Counting calories is not quite the same as your everyday math equation where a simple calculation is able to draw out an accurate value.
Here’s the lowdown on calorie counting: When the calories consumed exceeds calorie expenditure, it will not necessarily lead to weight gain and vice versa. So the question is, do you calculate calories before you start eating? And is it true that it’s easier to estimate the calories in food rather than understand its nutritional value?
Although knowledge and understanding of the concept of calories can help us practice a well-balanced diet, fear and excessive focus on calculating our daily calories will bring about a less than desirable, and even detrimental effect.
Calories are used to calculate the heat (also referred to as energy) units present in food. Although the carbohydrate, protein, fat and alcohol levels found in food do contribute to the overall calorie value, the energy units present may differ from one to another.
- 1g carbohydrate produces 4kcal
- 1g protein produces 4kcal
- 1g fat produces 9kcal
- 1g alcohol produces 7kcal
The amount of calories we should consume every day is dependent on the individual. It depends on factors such as age, height, weight, gender, health status and daily activity levels as well. Although we often hear that the amount of calories we consume will affect our weight, the fact is, food in general is the main source of key nutrients for our body's vital processes. However, do note that ingested food will have vastly different effects on our body, including the metabolic rate, secretion of hormones and feeling of satiety after a meal. For example, food that contains protein provides the greatest satisfaction; while carbohydrates stimulate insulin secretion and contribute to the metabolism of fat and energy conversion. Protein is one of the integral elements in our daily diets, and it is also the basic building block of all human cells and tissues. We also need carbohydrates, and saturated and unsaturated fat to maintain proper body function, and promote normal growth and development as well.
Calories are not the main cause of obesity.
Different foods that are eaten, even with equal calorie values will likely have different results after its consumption. For example: 100kcal of potato chips and 100kcal of broccoli have the same amount of calories, however a stark contrast is perceptible in terms of nutritional content. Potato chips have no nutritional value at all; on the other hand, broccoli is rich in vitamins and antioxidants which benefit the body.
When we restrict our diet and calorie intake, we will often end up reaching for the high-carbohydrate, low-protein foods, such as bread, rice, pasta, biscuits, or other starchy stuff. People also tend to replace a proper meal with fruits instead, or other low-sugar or low-fat foods under the impression that they are eating less calories. When we reduce our daily calorie intake, our metabolism will eventually become slower.
As a result, the more we reduce our daily calorie intake, the easier it is for the body to accumulate fats and toxins. However, the culprits aren’t high-calorie foods, but is attributed instead to an extended deficiency of wholesome, nutritious food, resulting in the metabolic rate becoming increasingly slower as time goes by. This will lead to the occurrence of other medical maladies such as malnutrition, fatigue, blood sugar imbalance, hormonal disorders, muscle atrophy, physical function degradation, and over-eating in the future as well.
So , the lesson here is that we shouldn’t place too much emphasis on the value of calories. To have a healthy body, it is necessary to consume a well-balanced diet . Everyone’s physical conditions differ in little deviations, but the general guideline to having a healthy body is to make sure you’re eating balanced, nutritious meals. Counting calories isn’t the healthy way to living – eating right is!